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The primary goal of this page/database is to make it easier for people to connect with scientists, science journalists, science teachers (K-12), and science pages on Google+.  

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What is Free Speech in an Online Community?

Often, when we remove an inappropriate post or an offensive member from our Science on Google+ Community, we hear cries of Censorship! and we're accused of violating the right to free speech. This brilliant xkcd cartoon nails the difference between the right to free speech and the rights and responsibilities of community membership.  

As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, "we live in a country that guarantees free speech, but it’s not a country that guarantees that anything you say is correct". 

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Greg S.
+Alicia Patrick Given the actions of the folks that provoked the creation of the comic above, apparently not.
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Sexism in STEM

Our sister community +STEM Women on G+ discuss the nuances of #EverydaySexism  that academic scientists face. Sexism can take many forms: some are apparent and overtly hostile, others may be unintentional and fall under benevolent sexism. Nevertheless, these two forms of sexism go hand in hand. In a landmark study of 15,000 men and women from 19 countries, Glick and Fiske (1996) found that  hostile and benevolent sexism tend to correlate highly across nations. Also, that benevolent sexism was a significant predictor of nationwide gender inequality, Here's a handy summary to help you be a better colleague and supporter of STEM:
Everyday Sexism in Academia
Earlier today, I co-hosted a panel discussion by +STEM Women on G+ on Everyday Sexism in Academia, along with Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe a Molecular Biologist from the UK. Our guests were Professor +Rajini Rao PhD  in Biochemistry who runs her own lab at Johns Hopkins University USA, and Dr +Tommy Leung, Evolutionary Biologist with the University of New England, Australia. 

We discussed the sociological definition of everyday sexism, which demonstrates how everyday social exchanges between individuals are connected to institutional discrimination. Specifically, how conversations between academic colleagues that are sometimes called "benevolent" or "unintentional" sexism, are actually the outcome of systemic issues of gender inequality. This includes "jokes" that play on a woman's gender and sexuality ("You're a cheap date"); complimenting a woman on her looks and propositioning a junior colleague at a conference; and critiquing a woman scientist for the way she speaks, such as saying she's "too aggressive" in negotiations or "not nice enough" when addressing sexism (this is often known as "tone policing").

We also covered the recent case where the Journal of Proteomics published a photo of a bare chested woman in an abstract to promote a scientific paper (more on this later but you can read our article on our STEM Woman website Finally we discussed how, even in professional contexts, people often discuss women scientists as mothers and wives first, rather than focusing on their professional achievements. For example in The New York Times obituary of rocket scientist Yvonne Brill (

Everyday sexism shows that women's gender is a both a barrier to professional recognition, as well as a heavily policed focal point of scrutiny.

People think these seemingly innocuous examples of sexism are subjective - that women should just take a joke and not be "so sensitive." We showed how social science actually connects these everyday comments to the professional barriers that women face in their scientific careers. This includes women's pay, their career progression and professional esteem, their publications, women's contribution and participation in STEM, and other more overt forms of workplace discrimination and sexual harassment.

#sociology #gender #feminism #science #stem #stemwomen #womeninstem
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+Martin Lewitt  first of all, the post was about everyday sexism: the sort of casual sexism that exists in academia and illustrated by five common scenarios. Clearly, you had not bothered to watch the video because you jumped in a with statement on innate gender differences that was irrelevant to the post and effectively derailed it. For that alone, you warranted being removed and banned. 

Second, you googled a search term but evidently did not look too closely at the search results. The paper I clicked on was a "meta-analysis of 100 studies (published 1963–1988) of gender differences in mathematics performance. They yielded 254 independent effect sizes, representing the testing of 3,175,188 Ss. Averaged overall effect sizes based on samples of the general population indicated that females outperformed males by only a negligible amount". Another paper on gender differences in ADHD found no, or minor differences in behavior: "Gender differences were not found in impulsivity, academic performance, social functioning, fine motor skills, parental education, or parental depression." Importantly, the conclusion warns against referral bias. All very interesting of course, but again, not related to the topic of everyday sexism in academia. 

Third, the study you cite in this rebuttal post on your profile ( is a poster child for overreaching media hype and has been sharply criticized by many scientists for statistical problems. I refer you to this blog which links to several other sources: Let's think rigorously here: assuming there are wiring differences, the interpretation dredged up now-debunked ideas of left brain/right brain differences. See for a discussion on problems with assigning functional differences to connectivity differences. 

In the end, I'm not really sure what your point in all this is? Are you saying that women are not intellectually equal to men and/or that gender bias does not exist in academia? There are plenty of peer reviewed studies that address and refute both points.  
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An important part of being a scientist is being cynical enough about a suspicious new result that you check the sources. +Francesco Busiello did that and explains in this great post where this talk of an "ocean deep inside the Earth" you heard about on the news comes from. Spoiler alert: it's not an ocean.
There is no ocean deep inside the earth

"In what sounds like a chapter from Journey to the Center of the Earth, the chemical makeup of a tiny, extremely rare gemstone has made researchers think there's a massive water reservoir hundreds of miles under the earth."

In the last couple of days newspapers and other media outlets have reported what they've been calling "an ocean deep inside the earth". "What if the outermost layer of the earth was floating on a boundless sea, bigger than all of the ones present on the surface?"(translation mine) writes Laura Berardi on ilFattoQuotidiano, which is normally quite a decent newspaper (though their track record on scientific reporting is middling at best).

There could be a large body of water buried deep beneath the Earth's surface containing as much water as in every ocean combined, according to new scientific research. You know, just your average secret trove of buried water to sustain all life on Earth.
-The Wire

Note that most of these "articles" skirt around the issue of well, telling the truth, by using "what if" statements. This would all be well and good if these hypothesised scenarios were not completely misleading. They're a very cheap way of getting clicks. "There is an ocean beneath you!" is more interesting for the average reader than an accurate report of a geology paper.

It shouldn't be this way, but it is. And it sucks. We deserve better.

But anyway, let's take a look at the aforementioned paper.

Pearson D.G. et al. analysed a sample of ringwoodite, trapped inside a diamond. This diamond was originally formed deep in the earth's mantle and it only reached the surface thanks to a volcanic eruption (it traveled 525km up to the surface!). During its trip it got battered and bruised and has no real economic value (no one wants a ring with a misshapen diamond, unless you were a geologist, maybe).

These erupted diamonds, however, are of great interest to geologist because they give us a way of analysing the composition of the mantle.

Geologists think that a lot of the earth’s mantle is composed of olivine (a mineral also known as peridot). Olivine, at high pressure, changes its crystal structure and turns into ringwoodite, which is the material analysed by Pearson et al.

We know that olivine turns into ringwoodite because scientists have created it in the lab or found it in meteorites. But this is the first evidence that ringwoodite does form in the mantle which, so far, had only been an hypothesis.

What does this mean? Because ringwoodite can contain up to 2.6% of its weight in water, it follows that:

a) the olivine at a particular depth (and hence pressure) is transformed into ringwoodite

b) the ringwoodite can contain some water inside its crystal structure


c) there is a lot of water in the mantle

Which is where the whole "ocean" thing comes from. Except that, not really.

Calling it "water" is not exactly right. It's not liquid water, which is what we visualise when saying the word "water". It's hydrogen and oxygen atoms trapped inside the crystal structure of ringwoodite.

It would be more appropriate to call it H2O, or even better, hydroxide ions.

It's an important discovery, and one that will contribute to the answer to the "is there water in the mantle?" question and it's of great interest to geology.

However, there are no oceans deep inside the earth. No vast lakes of liquid water.

But I guess, "The earth's mantle may contain large amounts of hydroxide ions trapped in ringwoodite's crystal structure" gets less clicks.


This post was originally published here:

References and further reading


DG Pearson et al. (2014) - "Hydrous mantle transition zone indicated by ringwoodite included within diamond" - Nature

Articles worth reading

Rare Diamond Reveals Earth's Interior is All Wet - LiveScience
Rare Diamond Confirms That Earth's Mantle Holds an Ocean's Worth of Water - Scientific American

Articles quoted but not worth reading

Un piccolo diamante svela che sotto la Terra ci sono sconfinati oceani - ilFattoQuotidiano
Earth May Have Massive Subterranean Water Reservoir, Bigger Than All Our Oceans - The Wire
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Grab your space-swimsuits! NASA's Cassini has detected a liquid-water ocean beneath the ice on Saturn's sixth-largest moon:
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Everything You Wanted to Know About Tidal Power but Were Afraid to Ask
Don't be afraid, +Samantha Andrews has a full summary for you describing where tidal power comes from and the various ways scientists and engineers are trying to harness it with lots of links to further reading.
What the oceans do for us: powering our needs in the future

Figuring out how we are going to keep generating energy is a political nightmare, and technologically challenging.  There are all sorts of issues with fossil fuels, and renewable energy solutions are (at the moment) generally a little more costly to get up and running.  There are also some issues over energy-delivery reliability.  These aren’t insurmountable problems, and slowly but surely people around the globe and thinking of new – and sometimes old solutions to producing more sustainable and less polluting energy.  Solutions like harnessing the power of the ocean.

Tides occur from the rotation of the sun and moon around the Earth.  Each orbiting body exerts a gravitational force that pulls the ocean around.  Here’s a great 2-minute video explaining how it works (though some parts of the world have more than two tides a day!).  There are two important things about the tides that make them intriguing from an energy point of view.  First tides exert energy.  Second tides are predictable – we already know what the tides are going to do for the next few years.  So if we can capture that energy efficiently we could power our fancy electronic gizmos with tidal power.  This isn’t a new concept as such.  Many of you will have seen images or even visited old mills next to streams and rivers with a big wooden wheel sitting in the water.  Those wheels are pushed by the water movement, and in turn that wheel turns some cogs which grinds up some wheat which throws out flour.  

The development of tidal power as a viable energy source is ongoing.  There are a number of projects in progress across the globe.  Some are very small scale, some much larger.  Here are just a few examples of the latest thinking on tidal power.  All links are open access.

What are the options
Generally speaking, there are three ways in which we could harness the power of the tides – turbine farms, barrages, or fences.  Here’s an example of each:

><> Turbine Farms are a little like wind farms – but underwater. Scottish Power are in the process of developing a ‘tidal array’ consisting of 10 turbines in the Sound of Islay, Scotland.  Pop along to their webpage to read a non-technical summary as well as updates of environmental surveys.

><> Tidal barrages are essentially damns built across the entrance of a bay or estuary that control water flow through sluices.  In these sluices are turbines which are powered by water flowing past them.  La Rance Barrage in France opened back in 1966 as the world’s first tidal power station.  It’s still going today, and provides around 90% of Brittany’s energy needs.  EDF who own the power plant haven’t given much information about the plant on their website, but if you want a look, here’s the link to their page

><> Tidal fences are rows of turbines laid over the mouth of an estuary.  Unlike barrages, they are not surrounded by any sort of dam , and so don’t have the same environmental impacts.  The downside is that they are less efficient.  For this reason, proposals for a barrage across the Severn estuary in the UK were thrown out, and consideration into a tidal fence is in.  Back in 2010, the Severn Tidal Fence Consortium explored the pros and cons of a fence system.  Their final report makes for an interesting read

How much can we get
Tidal flow is pretty powerful, but just how much energy we can expect to gain from trying to harnessing tidal flow?  The figure is likely to differ depending on where you are in the world (different tidal flows) and on what sort of tidal power technology is used.  In this study by Roy Walters of the Institute of Ocean Sciences and other Canadian-based researchers focused on a hypothetical turbine farm in the Bay of Fundy – an area well known for having the highest tide in the words (  Using a ‘numerical flow model’, the researchers demonstrate that the amount of power that could be realised from the turbine farm is far less that its theoretical maximum.  It seems that there are physical barriers to the technology itself.

Understanding the impacts
Everything we do has an impact on the environment and other species.  The trick is to minimise our footprint.  There has been a fair bit of research to determine the potential impacts of tidal power systems on marine ecosystems.  Here are just a few examples:

><>  Shallin Busch and colleagues at the Northwest Fisheries Science Centre undertook some simulation work to determine how tidal power development in the Puget Sound, USA and climate change may affect species listed under the US Endangered Species Act.  They took a whole host of things into consideration including ocean acidification and changes to primary production.  Climate change came out as likely to have the biggest impact, but concerns about blade strikes from the turbines couldn’t really be fully assessed, simply because we do not know if and how individuals may avoid the blade.

><> Back in 2010 Andrew Gill and Mark Bartlett of Cranfield University produced a report for Scottish Natural Heritage focusing on the impact of marine renewable energy – particularly wave and tidal power – on three species of fish.  The Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), sea trout (Salmo trutta), and European eel (Anguilla Anguilla) are all considered species of ‘conservation importance’, and we have done a number of studies on these species.  Never the less Andrew and Mark hit a similar problem to Shallin’s team.  We just don’t know how the species will react to the energy plants – including electromagnetic fields, and noise. 

><> Because La Rance is the oldest tidal power plant, it is a good place to look for environmental impacts.  Which is exactly what Engineer Richard Kirby and Christian Retière of the Muséum National d’Histoire did back in 2008.  As you can expect a whole host of changes to the estuary were found, including changes to species composition and sediment flow.

Image:  SeaGen tidal current turbine in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland.  Credit - +Siemens 

#scienceeveryday   #renewableenergy   #tidalpower   #openaccess  
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The History of Mathematics

+annarita ruberto combines history with a dose of math, in this post about Platonic solids. Plato attributed one shape to each of four classical "elements" in ca. 360 BC. They are thought to make intuitive sense: fire is associated with sharp and stabbing tetrahedra, Water is represented by an icosahedron because it flows out of one's hand when picked up, as if it is made of tiny little balls. Hmmm. What do you think? :)

Today's #SoG+CuratorsChoice was selected by +Rajini Rao because it reminds us of how far we have come in STEM. 
Cubes in  motion

This animated gif is harmonious and fine.

The cube is one of the five Platonic solids.

The regularity of the Platonic solids is extraordinarily suggestive: for this motive, they were extensively studied since ancient times, often looking for hidden meanings in them and giving them esoteric values.
They were studied by Pythagoras and Plato

Plato, in the dialogue Timaeus, associated an element (among the four classical elements) to each of them: fire with the tetrahedron, earth with the cube, air with the octahedron, water with the icosahedron, while in the dialogue Phaedo he thought that the dodecahedron was the shape of  Universe.

They were then studied with greater rationality by Greek-Alexandrian surveyors. The construction of these solids is contained in Book XIII of Euclid's Elements. Proposition 13 describes the construction of the regular tetrahedron, Proposition 14 is dedicated to regular octahedron, Proposition 15 to the cube, Proposition 16 to the regular icosahedron  and Proposition 17 to the regular dodecahedron.

The interest of mathematicians and artists about those continued through the centuries.

You can deepen here:

The cube is the only one of the Platonic solids that, with its replicas, is able to fill the space with regularity, that is, to provide a tessellation of space.
I'm fascinated by this geometric shape.

Animated gif source:
Credits: archery

#mathematics #animated_gif  #geometric_gif  #cube #platonic_solids
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Ya, me either but it's pretty to look at. Um hello for those of us who don't understand is this like a simple theory of everything kind of illustration or you just playin' with us lol?
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The Pros and Cons of Popular Diets

+Rakesh Yadav brings us a comprehensive summary on the scientific consensus on some popular diets. In the comments on his original posts, he makes the following observations on Fats and Grains:

Fats: During recent years, there has been something of a backlash against low-fat eating recommendations because of the concomitant embrace of such recommendations and worsening of the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, however, suggest that dietary fat intake did not appreciably decline; rather, total calorie intake went up, with the increase due to the adoption of many high-starch, high-sugar, low-fat foods. The decline in the percentage of calories from fat was more attributable to increased calorie intake than to decreased fat intake. The intent of low-fat guidance was, presumably, to encourage consumption of naturally low-fat foods—namely, plant foods direct from nature, rather than highly processed, fat-reduced foods (86). Adverse effects of low-fat eating may be associated with this misapplication of the original guidance rather than the intended guidance per se.

Grains: One of the more controversial aspects of plant-based eating is the role of grains. Evidence is fairly strong for a generous intake of dietary fiber over the life span, with whole grains representing an important source. Advocacy for the inclusion of whole grains in the diet is widespread, but concerns about the contributions of grains to obesity have been expressed quite vocally, in particular concerns about the rising prevalence of gluten sensitivity and concerns about genetic modifications of wheat. Data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggest that grain intake is related to positive nutrient profiles and improvement in chronic disease risk factors and is unrelated to obesity. The literature generally associates whole-grain intake with lower cancer risk, greater diet quality, and better control of body weight.
Recently a review article (; open access) was shared by +Jim Carver .  The article had a somewhat provocative title "Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?" and I was sucked into the trap.

Such review articles are very important as they try to paint a comprehensive picture of the field of research and ideally provide an un-biased analysis of the different studies conducted in the past. In lack of such articles a non-expert can easily be lost in the myriad of studies, sometimes reporting conflicting results. Anyway, I read the abstract, and then the introduction and then the whole thing. I found it very interesting and hence I am sharing the main points (from my perspective). The summary below is mostly a cut-paste text from the original article with some paraphrasing done for the sake of coherence. This is of course in no way a comprehensive summary. If you are intrigued by some aspects, then you should definitely read the article! 

The authors basically talk about popular dietary choices in current culture. Using scientific studies they try to narrow down on health-promoting foods. They examine 7 diets which are described below.

[Warning: brace yourself, a long one is coming]

Summary starts here 
Low carb diet 
Definition: total daily carbohydrate intake below 45% of total calories.

Interest in carbohydrate-restricted diets is long-standing, particularly in the context of diabetes management, and especially during the era before the advent of insulin therapy. It has become popular again in the context of weight control. Short to moderate intervention studies have shown efficacy in weight loss and favorably effects for quality of life. No long term intervention studies exist. Such studies cannot and do not, however, unbundle the effects of (a) carbohydrate restriction per se, on which the theory of the approach is predicated, and (b) calorie restriction, which is a virtually inevitable concomitant of choice restriction in general, and, perhaps especially, (c) restriction directed at carbohydrate, which constitutes the macronutrient class that provides the majority of calories for almost all omnivorous species. 

The basic principle for the diet is very general. For example the remaining calories can come from fat or protein, and, furthermore, these calories can be of plant of animal origin. The authors sum up by saying: The relevant literature remains equivocal, with most studies suggesting benefit from low-carbohydrate eating per se in comparison, generally, to either the typical Western diet or some version of a low-fat diet, with persistent concerns and uncertainty about longer-term effects on health outcomes.

Low-fat/vegetarian diet 
Definition: total daily fat intake below 20% of total calories.

Extensive body of literature exists. The diets of most primates are overwhelmingly plant based and low in total fat and are thought to be reflective of the earliest versions of the native human and prehuman diets, which evolved to include more meat in accord with hunting prowess. Intervention trials have long shown benefits from dietary fat restriction, ranging from weight loss to improvements in various biomarkers to reductions in cardiac events and mortality. Low-fat, plant-based eating has been associated with reductions in cancer and cardiometabolic disease. Uniquely, a very-low-fat diet has been shown to cause regression of coronary atherosclerosis (fat and plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries). High fiber intake in this (or others for that matter) diet might be crucial factor in their positive health effects. That said, there is no decisive evidence that low-fat eating is superior to diets higher in health-full fat in terms of health outcomes over the life span. When food choices are judicious in both contexts, the superiority of fat-restricted versus carbohydrate-restricted eating for weight loss and health is not reliably established.

Low-Glycemic diet
Definition: restricting/excluding foods with high-glycemic index

Clinical trial data are available and generally support efforts to reduce the glycemic load of the diet. Studies focused on this strategy have demonstrated benefits in the areas of weight loss, insulin metabolism, diabetes control, inflammation, and vascular function. Benefits have been seen in studies of both adults and children. Conversely, a high dietary glycemic load has been associated with adverse health effects. A recent meta-analysis concluded that high glycemic load and index are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, especially for women. Most fruits are precluded by a preferential focus on the glycemic index as well. However, evidence that health benefits ensue from jettisoning fruits, or relatively high-glycemic-index vegetables, from the diet does not exist.

Often absent from discussions of low-glycemic diets is the consideration that, as with other dietary categories, there are various means to the same ends. McMillan-Price et al. studied alternative approaches to achieving a reduced glycemic load and demonstrated that a high-fiber, mostly plant-based approach offered metabolic advantages over a high-protein approach.

Mediterranean diet
Definition: based on the traditional dietary pattern that prevails in Mediterranean countries.

It has been associated with increased longevity, preserved cognition, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in particular, with some evidence for reduced cancer risk. However, longevity effects of diet, per se, are of course difficult if not impossible to unbundle from the effects of related lifestyle practices and cultural context. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet pattern is potentially associated with defense against neurodegenerative disease and preservation of cognitive function, reduced inflammation and defense against asthma, amelioration of insulin sensitivity, and relatively high scores of objectively measured overall diet quality. Studies have placed a particular emphasis on high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, olive oil, and legumes; moderate intake of alcohol; and limited consumption of meat. The contributions of cereal grains and fish are less apparent, perhaps because of lesser effects on health outcomes or less variation available for assessment.

Mixed, Balanced diet
Definition: it belongs to dietary patterns that include both plant and animal foods and conform to authoritative dietary guidelines, e.g. Dietary Recommendations of the World Health Organization

Such diets have figured prominently in the intervention trials of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is a salient example. Perhaps because of the ultimate accountability of the NIH to the tax-paying population at large, these federal diets have focused both on enhancements of nutrition and real-world applicability. Even so, efforts to translate the findings of intervention trials to community application have realized limited success. 

The DASH diet, as it has evolved, is a mostly plant-based diet inclusive of some animal products, with an emphasis on low-fat and nonfat dairy products. U.S. News & World Report has deemed DASH the most healthful diet in recent years. This designation, however, derives from the consensus opinion of a panel of expert judges rather than objective data. Data related to a direct comparison of DASH to other reasonable contenders for most healthful diet are lacking. There are some concerns about potential adverse effects of dairy intake that DASH-related literature tends to ignore. The Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health has demonstrated short-term benefits for overall cardiovascular risk of several variations on the DASH diet theme - intake relatively high in carbohydrate, relatively high in protein, and relatively high in unsaturated fat - and suggested advantages to replacing some carbohydrate with either protein or fat. There are, however, no head-to-head comparisons of a DASH-style diet with other candidate dietary patterns to determine which produces the best long-term health effects.

Paleolithic diet
Definition: diet emulating pattern of our Stone Age ancestors with an emphasis on avoiding processed foods, and the intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, eggs, and lean meats. In principle at least, dairy and grains are excluded entirely

Estimates of our Paleolithic dietary intake suggest that we are adapted to a high intake of plant foods and the nutrients they contain; a high intake of dietary fiber; and a fat intake of approximately 25% of total calories. One of the lesser challenges in reaching conclusions about the Paleolithic diet is variation in our ancestral dietary pattern and debate regarding its salient features. If Paleolithic eating is loosely interpreted to mean a diet based mostly on meat, no meaningful interpretation of health effects is possible. 

However even those emphasizing the role of hunting and meat suggest that some 50% of our Stone Age forebears’ calories came from gathered plant foods. Given the energy density of meat relative to most plants, even this translates to a diet that is, by bulk, mostly plants. Although superficially a departure from the other contending diets, a reasonable approximation of a true Paleolithic diet would in fact be relatively low in fat; low in the objectionable carbohydrate sources - namely, starches and added sugars; high in vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and fiber; and low glycemic. An emphasis on lean meat remains distinctive, however, and may represent an advantage related particularly to satiety.

Vegan diet 
Definition: diets excluding all animal products - notably, dairy, eggs, and meats.

As with almost every other dietary approach, vegan eating can be done well or badly. Those committed to long-term veganism are typically well versed in the need to combine plant foods to achieve complete protein and in the role of select nutrient supplements. Those who adopt veganism for a short term, particularly adolescents seeking rapid weight loss, are not as reliably well informed. In general, vegan diets, when well constructed, are associated with health benefits. Intervention trials of short to moderate duration suggest benefits related to overall diet quality, inflammation, cardiac risk measures, cancer risk, anthropometry, and insulin sensitivity.

Intervention trials of vegan diets are limited to those willing to be assigned to such a diet for a span of weeks, months, or years. Given such constraints, data from intervention trials that are related to direct comparison of vegan diets with various other dietary patterns, that are defended from bias, and that examine long-term health effects are essentially nonexistent. This does not argue against vegan diets, but it does argue against overstating the basis for them in evidence related to human health outcomes.

A common message can be drawn from the varies studies conducted on various food habits: the case that we should, indeed, eat true food, mostly plants, is all but incontrovertible. Perhaps fortuitously, this same dietary theme offers considerable advantages to other species, the environment around us, and even the ecology within us.

The clutter of competing claims likely obscures the established body of knowledge and forestalls progress, much like the proverbial trees and forest. We need less debate about what diet is good for health, and much more attention directed at how best to move our cultures/societies in the direction of the well-established theme of optimal eating, for we remain mired a long way from it.
Summary ends here.

I hope this post motivates someone to read further and make responsible choices for themself. 

For +ScienceSunday,  curated by +Robby Bowles , +Allison Sekuler , +Rajini Rao , +Chad Haney , +Buddhini Samarasinghe , +Aubrey Francisco , and +Carissa Braun .


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I noticed 15 years ago that most nutrition studies demonizing fats, did not control for Calories.  On an equal Calorie basis there is little evidence against fats.  While our primate relatives diets may seem low in fat, the high vegetable fiber content, enters their system as short chain fatty acids after processing by their  intestinal flora.
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250,000 Members in our Community - Thank You!
We've passed two milestones recently. Firstly, we're actually up to 251.4K members now - and we wanted to thank you, our members! Secondly, we're the 9th largest Community on Google+! That's all thanks to you!

We appreciate your fascinating science posts, your spirited debate and your generous feedback to our fellow members who ask for science input. We'd like to highlight some of our Curator's Choice posts. Further celebrations will follow!

Clockwise from top left:
Physical +John Baez takes us through the physics of the  IceCube Neutrino Observatory (
Science Bytes +Jonathan Stevens demonstrates the complexity of embryo development in a single image.
Life +Michael Habib  explains how some birds rack up thousands of frequent flier miles (
Science Outreach +Jason Osborne discusses Shark Finder, the project providing disadvantaged students with citizen science tools (
Applied +Yonatan Zunger explains the mathematics of how we measure our Universe (
Applied +Joerg Fliege delves into the peculiar prevalence of the p-value, a standard measure in statistics (
Earth +Johnathan Chung provides an amazing science outreach answer explaining the science of the earth's layers (
Applied +annarita ruberto explains the Euler Spiral and its many applications (
Social +M. Laura Moazedi discusses the relationship between perceptions of time and internet use (

Other excellent posts are found in our Policy & Practice category, including a brave account of submitting a retraction of a science paper by +Pamela Ronald   ( In a terrific example of a Science News share +Tommy Leung brings our attention to an example of #ScienceMediaHype , where the media dive into early conclusions on the behaviour of dolphins and puffer fish ( 

Did we miss any of your favourite posts? Tell us below!

#science  #SoG+CuratorsChoice 
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Join us for a Science on Google+ HOA as we speak to +Akinola Emmanuel and Dr +shilpa keerthivasan about their recently published research on cancer signalling ( We will discuss the basics of cancer signalling, explain the link between inflammation and cancer, and how their research identifies a novel role for immune cells in the development of colon cancer. This Pub Talks HOA will be part of a series in which we explain published research in a jargon-free manner that is understandable to the public.

This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe and you can tune in on Sunday March 23rd at 2 PM CDT/ 12PM PDT/ 7 PM GMT. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel ( after the event.
This Hangout On Air is hosted by Science on Google+. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
Pub Talks: Cancer Signalling
Sun, March 23, 3:00 PM
Hangouts On Air

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Join us for a Science on Google+ HOA as we speak to +Akinola Emmanuel and Dr +shilpa keerthivasan about their recently published research on cancer signalling ( We will discuss the basics of cancer signalling, explain the link between inflammation and cancer, and how their research identifies a novel role for immune cells in the development of colon cancer. This Pub Talks HOA will be part of a series in which we explain published research in a jargon-free manner that is understandable to the public.

This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe and you can tune in on Sunday March 23rd at 2 PM CDT/ 12PM PDT/ 7 PM GMT. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel ( after the event.
This Hangout On Air is hosted by Science on Google+. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
Pub Talks: Cancer Signalling
Sun, March 23, 3:00 PM
Hangouts On Air

Mary Bonine's profile photoMajken Kiyohara's profile photoErik Driscoll's profile photoBianca Seymour's profile photo
+Science on Google+ It was great experience for us also. Highly recommended for all scientists.

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